Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Good Quote

I've started summer school and a job all in the same week so I'm just going to post a quote that I read today and hopefully I will return with a long thought provoking dissertation in the next couple of days. Actually I would like to write a long post about this author, or at least the work by her that I am reading, Out of Africa.

People who dream when they sleep at night, know of a special kind of
happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstacy, and ease of
heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of
dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of
the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the
artist, who has no will, who is free of will.

Karen Blixen

This quote struck me, among other beautifully written passages from the book, because the idea of being free of will as a positive emotion had never occured to me. Free will, we learned in eighteenth-century literature, was touted by many writers to be the goal of the self-determined human. But will, as in "will-power" or "by the force of his own will" does seem to have a relationship with dictatorship, as Blixen suggests. After all, haven't some of the world's greatest man-made disasters been a result of unbreakable will? Hitler, for example, or that idiot we have in office now? A dream then, if it is a good one, does feel like freedom in a pure sense and is, possibly, the closest we might get to breaking the limits of mortality.


linser said...

I really like this quote and your interpretation. The best dreams seem to be the ones that aren't about what you can do (which often implies what you should do) but what you don't have to do. Like when you're dreaming you're back in school taking a test and then you have this sudden wonderful realization in the dream that you graduated years ago and you don't have to do anything there you don't want to--and you don't even have to be there.

imichie said...

Yes linser, we always talk about how embarrased those dreams make us feel, but not how relieved we are when we find out they were just dreams. When we have them, the things that we are worried about in real life take on less significance. For a little while anyway.